Logier, Johann Bernhard (1777–1846), pedagogue, composer, arranger, inventor, concert promoter, and music publisher and seller, was born 9 February 1777 in Kassel, Germany, the son of Johann Jacob Logier (1736–84), an organist and violinist, and Christina Elizabeth Gotze (1742–87); he had a sister and a brother, Wilhelm, who became a book publisher in Berlin. Logier was descended from a family of Huguenot refugee musicians who had settled in the Palatinate at the end of the seventeenth century; both his grandfather and great-grandfather were organists and Kapellmeisters in the Lutheran church in Kaiserslautern. He received his early musical education from his father.
In 1791 Logier moved to England, where he joined the duke of Abercorn's regimental band as a flautist and later held the post of director. In 1796 the regiment moved to Ireland and Logier married Elizabeth Willman (c.1777–1814), daughter of the bandmaster John Willman. In 1802 he was appointed organist to the Church of Ireland church in Westport, Co. Mayo, a post he held until about 1807. There he developed the chiroplast, or ‘hand director’: a sliding metal device into which the hand was placed while playing the piano to improve hand and wrist position. In 1808 Logier was briefly employed as bandmaster of the Kilkenny militia and as a theatre musician. A year later he moved to Dublin and opened a music shop at 76 Lower Sackville Street with the clarinettist Thomas Willman, his brother-in-law.
Between 1809 and 1819 Logier occupied a central position in Dublin's musical life, as publisher, pianist, conductor, and concert promoter. His concerts were characterised by the use of large instrumental forces, often numbering more than 150 performers, and he employed novel marketing techniques in which patrons were admitted by the purchase of scores published by Logier, rather than by ticket.
The years between 1813 and 1827 were the most prolific phase of his career in terms of inventions, pedagogical writings, compositions, and public performance; he also travelled extensively throughout the UK and continental Europe on promotional tours. Claiming to have invented the royal Kent keyed bugle (which was advertised in 1813), he published instruction manuals for the instrument which he sold alongside military instruments and pianos, and dedicated his Introduction to playing it to the duke of Kent. There is, however, doubt as to whether it was actually Logier's invention. The following year he patented the royal chiroplast from his ‘Temple of Harmony’ in Sandymount, Dublin. And in 1815 he published his Logierian method of piano instruction, a system for group teaching based on use of the chiroplast and the simultaneous deployment of twelve or more pianos. Logier produced a series of explanatory instruction books, fingered and graded progressively to accompany the system, beginning with An explanation and description of the royal patent chiroplast, or hand director (1814). He also staged public demonstrations of the chiroplast and Method to which leading musical figures were invited. These two innovations brought financial success but also involved Logier in acrimonious debate with the leading musicians of the age. Musical opinion was divided, with Kalkbrenner, Samuel Webbe, and Spohr advocating the Method, and Clementi and Cramer expressing scepticism. In some quarters Logier's controversial innovations in music education earned him a reputation as a charlatan and fraud. In November 1817, in an attempt to win over his critics, he invited a group of leading professors from the London Philharmonic Society, including Sir George Smart, to assess the efficacy of his teaching methods by attending a public demonstration. This led to a bitter feud between devotees and detractors, when the London professors publicly attacked both Logier and his system.
Undeterred, between 1819 and 1822 Logier and two of his sons, Frederick Logier (qv) and William Henry Logier, promoted the chiroplast and the Method in London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, charging prospective teachers 100 guineas to be instructed in the system. By 1820 there were over eighty Logierian academies in the UK; additional academies were established in the East and West Indies, Spain, India, America, France, and Prussia. Although under attack in England, Logier was invited to Berlin in 1822 by Baron Altenstein, the minister for public education, to introduce the Method into Prussia. Accompanied by his son Frederick, he remained there for the next five years and supervised the establishment of over forty Logierian academies.
The third strand of Logier's pedagogical works had begun in 1818 with the publication of Logier's practical thorough-bass, based on a series of public lectures which he had given in Dublin in 1814. This was followed in 1827 by the publication of A system of the science of music and practical composition, which contained the first recorded use of the term ‘musicology’. Logier regarded the two texts as integral parts of his overall pedagogy in their promotion of efficient, economical methods of teaching music theory allied to group piano instruction.
Most of Logier's compositions were small-scale works for the keyboard and pieces for solo military instruments. His four piano sonatas are composed in contemporary salon style, while his pieces for flute and bugle are provided with piano accompaniment. He wrote numerous military duets, airs, and rondos for piano duet, and arranged traditional Irish airs, popular songs, and seven books of country dances for piano solo. Other than three military overtures, Logier produced only two major works: Brian Boroihme, or Maid of Erin, one of the first operas based on an Irish historical theme, which was published in 1810 and remained a popular choice in the Irish operatic repertoire until 1830, and a piano concerto in three movements (1816) dedicated to the prince regent.
Of the three key areas of Logier's music education system – the chiroplast, the Method, and the thoroughbass and harmony writings – the last had the most enduring influence, being reprinted in successive editions until the later nineteenth century. Logier's Practical thorough bass was the first harmony textbook used by Wagner in 1828. Propagation of the Method barely survived his death, although it was consistently promoted by his sons William and Frederick, in Derry, Ireland, and in Cape Town, South Africa respectively.
The final phase of Logier's career, from 1826 onwards, was spent in Dublin, initially at 46 Upper Sackville Street, and then at 28 Westmoreland Street, where he had a musical academy between 1842 and 1844. He reestablished himself as one of Dublin's principal music publishers, traders, and teachers, but did not resume his performing career. During the last two years of his life he lived at 45 St Stephen's Green East.
Logier's marriage to Elizabeth Willman in 1796 had produced four surviving children: Elizabeth (Ellen) (b. 1797), Bartholomew (b. 1800), Frederick (1801–67), and William Henry (1802–70), all of whom became musicians. Following Elizabeth's death Logier married Henrietta Amelia Maguire (1798–1855) in October 1815; she was the eldest daughter of the miniature portrait painter James Robert Maguire (1770–1852) and Maria Wilkinson (1781–1866). There were four children of this second marriage – two sons and two daughters – of whom Theodore (b. 1820) and Adolphe (1824–64) became musicians in Dublin. A grandson, Theodore Logier (1861–1944), taught music at St Patrick's training college, Drumcondra (1884–1944).
Logier died 27 July 1846 in Dublin and was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery, Rathmines.